The threequel is the final title in the femme-fueled film franchise; Sony’s ‘Peter Rabbit’ heads for $20 million-plus, followed by Clint Eastwood’s ‘The 15:17 to Paris’ with $10 million or more.
Universal’s Fifty Shades Freed is dominating at the box office, where it’s on course to earn $17.5 million Friday from 3,768 theaters for a domestic debut of $38 million or more, according to early returns.
Friday’s haul will include $5.6 million in Thursday evening previews.
The threequel closes out the female-fueled film franchise based on the BDSM-laced novels by E.L. James. Dakota Johnson once again stars as Anastasia Steele, while Jamie Dornan reprises the role of Christian Grey.
The first film, Fifty Shades of Grey, opened to $85.1 million domestic debut in February 2015. At that time, James’ books were a global sensation. Sequel Fifty Shades Darker opened to $46.6 million two years later.
Upon the opening of Fifty Shades Freed, the movie series will zoom past the $1 billion mark at the global box office, an impressive showing considering the three films cost a combined $150 million to produce (that doesn’t include marketing costs).
Overseas, Fifty Shades Freed is debuting day and date in most markets, including France, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, Japan and the U.K. Already, it is has taken in $25 million internationally.
The weekend’s other two nationwide entires are the family film Peter Rabbit and Clint Eastwood’s terrorist drama The 15:17 to Paris.
A CGI/live-action hybrid, Sony’s Peter Rabbit should hop to a domestic debut of $20 million-$22 million from 3,725 theaters, good enough for a second-place finish. James Corden voices the iconic rabbit created by author Beatrix Potter. The voice cast also includes Domhnall Gleeson and Rose Byrne.
Prolific director Clint Eastwood returns to the marquee with The 15:17 to Paris, a recounting of the true story of three Americans who helped thwart an attack on a French train in 2016. Village Roadshow Entertainment and Warner Bros. partnered on the film, which is pacing to gross $11 million-plus for the weekend from 3,042 locations.
15:17 to Paris, headed for a third-place finish domestically, is launching day-and-date in 23 foreign markets, including France. In an unusual turn, Eastwood cast the real-life heroes — Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler — as his film’s stars.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and The Greatest Showman are expected to round out the top five.
Feb. 9, 12:15 p.m. Updated with early Friday returns and weekend estimates.